FACTORYVILLE — Lackawanna Trail did most of its damage on offense through the running game, but it was a big pass play that ignited the Lions offense early in the game.
Trail freshman quarterback Nathan Rolka connected with junior wide receiver Matt Bergey for a 29-yard completion down the middle of the field, placing the ball on the Susquehanna 1-yard line, during the Lions first drive of the contest.
“It was a really great play because he was covered and went up and got the ball,” Rolka said. “He made a really great catch and it really got everybody fired up and gave us a boost.”
Rolka scored on a quarterback sneak on the next play to give Lackawanna Trail a 7-0 lead, after Thomas Huffsmith’s extra point, with 5:19 left in the first quarter.
Lackawanna Trail outgained Susquehanna, 246-175, and defeated the Sabers, 20-0, in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division 3 game on Friday, Oct. 23 at Lions Pride Stadium.
“Anytime we were not able to move the ball offensively, our defense kept coming up big and eventually it helped us in the game of field position,” Lackawanna Trail head coach Steve Jervis said.
Lackawanna Trail limited Susquehanna to 14 yards on its first three possessions, and increased its lead to 13 points on a 3-yard touchdown run from Huffsmith with 8:19 remaining in the second quarter.
Huffsmith burst through the Sabers defense for a 51 yards on the first play of the drive.
“Our line really did a great job blocking everyone,” he said. “I just saw a hole and I hit it.”
Bergey also recovered a fumble during the possession to enable to Lions to score.
Lackawanna Trail fumbled on the second play of the third quarter at the Susquehanna 43-yard line when Rolka had trouble handling a snap, but the Lions defense limited the Sabers to three yards during the ensuing drive to force a punt.
“I feel like our defense has been our strong point all year,” Huffsmith said. “We played a great team game today.
Susquehanna (2-6, 0-3 LFC Div. 3) had its best scoring chance in the closing minutes of the third quarter. A 52-yard completion from Canyon Stone to Kyle Donovan brought the ball to the Trail 18-yard line. Wes Richardson followed with a 5-yard gain, but the next three plays gained just one yard, resulting in a turnover on downs.
Lions fullback James Gillespie added the final score of the game on a 5-yard run to cap an 8-play, 60-yard drive with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter.
An interception by Anthony Berrios in the final seconds sealed the win for the Lions who increased their lead in playoff points over Susquehanna to 160 in the District 2 Class A standings. Trail is currently the number two seed.
Lackawanna Trail (3-5, 2-1) will host Mid Valley in a Lackawanna Football Conference Division 3 game at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 30.
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.